Heir of Fire may be the weakest of the first three books in the Throne of Glass series for me, but even if I have the most complaints about this book in comparison to the rest, it still adds so much to the journey Celaena Sardothien is on that it’s impossible not to appreciate all it does have to offer. Like wyverns!
But before we get to the wyverns I want to talk about another animal, and that is the elephant in the room: the tension between Rowan and Celaena that may or may not be of a sexual nature. Now I may be shipping Chaol and Celaena ever since my “but she’s coming back somehow, right?” hopes have fizzled for Nehemia, but I’m more than willing to welcome different potential Celaena ships into my harbor. All ships welcome, except when I have to ask: “wait, aren’t they related?” That’s right, we’ve got super distant cousins (?) protesting too much about their platonic but definitely, maybe, quite possibly heading towards inappropriate relations relationship. I don’t care how distant they are down their respective branches, if you describe the new guy to Celeana as being “an extremely distant relation of yours; there is some ancient ancestry linking you,” that’s gonna be a big NOPE from me in the most obnoxious flashing lights. I. DON’T. WANT. IT. And no matter how much the sweat glistens across his perfectly chiseled physique, I will not be swayed. His perfectly chiseled ancient physique. Eyeball someone your own age, you skeevy old man!
Fortunately this hard-to-read dynamic wasn’t the most important aspect of Celaena’s chapters as she hit rock bottom, sinking beneath the weight placed on both her shoulders and heart with Nehemia’s sacrifice, in what I like to describe as Celaena’s She-Ra to Catra arc. At the end of Crown of Midnight, Celaena’s vow to Nehemia to free the world from the monster currently sitting on the throne (and the execution of Archer, if I’m being honest) had me raring to take the newly displayed Fae-Ra form and scrub the world clean. What I hadn’t expected was how overwhelmed Celaena would be, to the point of being a shadow of herself, the confidence and assuredness replaced by overwhelming loss, pain, guilt, and resentment towards herself and others. And it hurt. A lot.
Long story short, Heir of Fire finds a lot of characters feeling alone in their grief, searching for a path forward to bring them to who they need to be for both themselves and others. Celaena must come to terms with the events that got her to this point (so many backstory revelations, you guys!), Dorian must continue to be his typical Dorian self by being a part of a random romance that I couldn’t care less about until he can eventually stand up for what’s right, apparently, and Chaol must finally stop being a little bitch and decide what he stands for. Honestly, a lot of Dorian’s and Chaol’s chapters felt like filler as we waited for Celaena’s story to progress. I love where they ended up because of what it could mean for the next book, but the only good thing their journey brought us was an introduction to Celeana’s other cousin, Aedion. I demand more quality time with him.
Oh, and Manon? You’re perfect. Bring me all the How to Train Your Dragon content you can muster as you claw your way into position as my second favorite character in the series, along with Abraxos. I absolutely love this new storyline with the witches and cannot wait til these two inevitably tangle with our main protagonist. Celaena and Manon together, in whatever dynamic that may be, will be quite the sight to see, I’m sure.
In the end Heir of Fire may be my least favorite of the first three Throne of Glass books due to the prominence of a certain uncomfortable relationship, as well as the feeling of the book being more of a stepping stone as far as overall progress goes, but honestly now that I know how it all plays out I imagine repeat readings will only make me appreciate it more.
“Off the Shelf” is my review series of non-new book releases outside the “TV/Film Prep” write ups, because it was just too sad to call this “Lauren’s One Person Book Club.” If you have any book recommendations please leave a comment below, or share them with me on twitter @BewareOfTrees!